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Gambling 101: What is Bankroll Management?

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a look at bankroll management. Why is it important and how do players benefit by properly managing betting funds?
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Proper bankroll management is important to a profitable, long-term and more enjoyable sports betting experience. While money is personal, and everyone spends it differently, there are simple practices that can help bettors avoid busting their bankroll.

First and foremost, players should never place bets with money they can’t afford to lose. Every wager is a gamble and a betting account should be funded with money that is set aside for entertainment purposes.

Percentage Betting Limits Bankroll Exposure

Depending on the amount of disposable cash available, recreational bettors need to determine a starting bankroll. For this discussion, we will use $2,000 as our initial deposit and open accounts at two sportsbooks. While suggested percentages vary, players are wise to never bet more than 2% to 10% of available funds on any given day. Based on 10% spending, a player needs to lose 30 straight bets before their bankroll dwindles down to a mere $9.42 balance.

Any player who loses 30 straight wagers should find a new form of entertainment.

Setting daily spending limits allows players to make multiple wagers and still stay within their budget. For example, after making an initial deposit, a bettor may decide to use 5% of their bankroll ($100) the first day they place bets. That means they could wager $50 on a NFL point spread wager, $25 on a NHL moneyline bet, plus $15 on a NBA game total and $10 on a parlay ticket.

By limiting the total amount wagered, and creating a minimal bankroll hit, it’s easier to move on if all four bets lose. A key part of proper money management is avoiding the lure of a big payout that requires a large investment. Wagering a huge sum, on a perceived sure thing, is one of the quickest ways a player can drop their betting account to zero. Houston (-520) losing to Detroit in 2019, as one of the biggest moneyline favorites in MLB history, is a solid example.

Shop Around For Best Priced Odds and Juice

Registering an account at more than one sportsbook allows bettors an opportunity to shop for the best odds and lowest priced juice. The lines below, from DraftKings and FanDuel, provide a couple examples of best price shopping. Players laying the Kansas City (-10) point spread receive lower juice (-105) at FanDuel than the (-110) price at DraftKings. Value reverses on the moneyline odds as Houston (+370) is better priced at DraftKings than the (+330) line at FanDuel.


Hedge Betting Can Produce Guaranteed Returns

While opinions vary, and it’s a personal choice, hedge betting can help players protect their bankroll. From the odds below: New Orleans + Dallas + Pittsburgh sets up a possible $313.65 profit on a $100 parlay wager. If the Saints and Cowboys both win on Sunday, bettors have an opportunity to set up a guaranteed return prior to the Monday Night match. Placing a $150 bet on the Giants (+162) moneyline decreases the parlay ticket profit but sets up a no-risk return.


By placing a hedge bet, players receive a $163.65 return on the parlay if the Steelers win. If New York wins, bettors get their original $100 parlay investment back plus earn a $143 profit. Again, while hedge betting is a personal decision, recreational bettors should consider accepting guaranteed returns. By setting daily wagering limits, shopping for the best odds and prices, plus considering hedge bets, players can boost their bankroll and decrease the chance of going broke.